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April 14 2013

9:07 PM

Equipment Roundup: The Masters

Jason Day used a 2-iron during the Masters en route to a third-place finish. (How/Getty Images)

By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider

The introduction of the hybrid has made the 2-iron a rare sight on the PGA TOUR in recent years. But the long iron made somewhat of a comeback at the Masters with 10 players in the field putting the club in play at the first major of the year.

A majority of those players carrying a 2-iron were using a utility iron like Titleist's 712U or Mizuno's MP Fli-Hi; however, there was one notable name in the field who decided to go the traditional route. That player was Jason Day, who opted to sub out his 14.5-degree TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 fairway wood for a TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC 2-iron with a True Temper Rifle 6.5 shaft.

The 2-iron is a course-dependent club, and Day felt the combination of a 14.5-degree TaylorMade RBZ Tour 4-wood and 2-iron gave him a better shot to tackle Augusta National. Unfortunately for Day, the equipment switch didn't produce a Green Jacket.

Mickelson goes with three Callaway X-Forged irons, new ball: Phil Mickelson's big addition to the bag was Callaway's X Hot Phrankenwood driver, but it wasn't the only piece of equipment the three-time Masters winner added to the bag.

Mickelson pulled three of his Callaway RAZR X Muscleback irons (7-9) for a trio of Callaway X Forged irons. Mickelson tests each iron individually and was getting better numbers with X Forged.

Mickelson also put Callaway's new Chrome+ ball in play. The four-piece urethane ball has a single-piece core and dual-mantle system that were designed in unison to create more ball speed with the longer clubs without generating excessive spin.

Lyle's Black Swan putter turns heads: Sandy Lyle's unique Black Swan putter had golf fans talking after the first round.

Lyle, who celebrated the 25th anniversary of his 1988 Masters victory this week, went back to the high-MOI putter — Black Swan has what could be the largest putter head in golf — following a positive practice round prior to the tournament.

“At the Senior PGA, I had a very, very good putting week,” Lyle said. “I was putting on greens very similar to these (at Augusta National) in terms of undulations and speed. So I brought it here and played a practice round. I had six birdies and 26 putts, and it went in my bag again.”

Matt Every used a similar putter model to Black Swan (called Black Hawk) last year during the Sony Open in Hawaii.

While the putter may look like something out of a Sci-Fi film, Black Swan helped Lyle make the weekend at the Masters for the first time since 2009.

“The ball rolls straight; there is no deviation," Lyle said after the first round. "So far I’ve felt a lot more comfortable on these very fast greens.”

Poulter drops gap wedge for Cobra AMP Cell hybrid: Having a multiple wedge options for Augusta National's notoriously tricky greens is usually a must. Ian Poulter, however, decided to go a different direction, dropping his gap wedge for an 18-degree Cobra AMP Cell Pro Proto 5/7 hybrid with a Matrix Red Tie 7Q3 X flex shaft.

Poulter felt his Cobra AMP Cell 2/3 hybrid was landing too shallow and wouldn't hold Augusta's greens, so Cobra Tour reps worked with the Englishman on Monday and Tuesday to find the right combination that flew the same distance but with a higher launch angle. The AMP Cell 5/7 hybrid performed well enough during testing that Poulter put it in the bag.

Els tests new fairway wood: Looking for a shaft change in his Callaway X-Tour Green 5-wood, Ernie Els decided to go one step further and test out new shaft and club combinations at Augusta National.

Els tested 15- and 18-degree Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme 5-woods and said the 18-degree was much easier to work both ways compared to his X-Tour Green. In fact, the South African liked the 5-wood so much that he sent his manager back to the Callaway truck to get a 3-wood to match.

Els, who had been using the Callaway X-Tour Green 5-wood for the better part of 5 years, dropped the club, as well as his 3-wood, and put both RAZR Fit Xtreme fairway woods in the bag.

Fresh grooves for Rose and Kaymer: A number of players in the Masters field added fresh grooves prior to the first round -- including Martin Kaymer and Justin Rose. Kaymer, who plays 54- and 56-degree TaylorMade TP xFT ZTP wedges, requested new faces on Tuesday morning to ensure maximum spin and greenside performance at Augusta.

Justin Rose also had a new 60-degree TaylorMade ATV wedge built for the same performance purpose. Rose's wedge has 6 degrees of bounce across the sole and 12 degrees of bounce across the leading edge.

Divots: Par-3 Contest winner Ted Potter Jr. used a custom center shafted Rife Iconic putter. The heel/toe standard blade has Roll Groove technology on the face for quick forward roll. ... Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old sensation who finished low amateur at the Masters, went with a Callaway X Hot 3-wood and 4-wood. The 3-wood was 43 inches with 14.1 degrees of loft, while the 4-wood was 42 inches with 17.1 degrees of loft. Callaway reps made one adjustment to the shaft tipping before Guan put the fairway woods in the bag.

 

 

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